12/04/2007: "Concerns Over Future Of SJI Grange Building"
A petition to the Washington State Grange has been started by Jim and Christina Sesby over concerns the local San Juan Island Grange could be closed for use as a community building.
A press release issued by Sesby cites the suspension of the local Granges charter, and what Sesby sees as an emerging pattern of suspending other Grange charters, as evidence that the use of the Grange building could be lost, but so far that has not happened, and according to Rob Horgen, the the President of the State Grange, there are no plans to close the building to public use.
Sesby charges that “The State Grange has not responded to the local members’ many requests for an explanation of the suspension (of the Charter) nor taken any steps to allow our Grange to continue to function in good standing.”
Things for the Grange came to a head when the leadership at the time had resigned in protest , and then changed their mind and came back, but the same problems continued, and as previous President (State Master) Terry Hunt explained at the time, a “cooling off” period was needed, after which the Grange would be started again “.
Terry Hunt explained the actions that lead up to the suspension of the Charter when he sent a three page letter on June 4, 2007 to the local “Subordinate Master” and members of the San Juan Island Grange, in which he expressed his concerns, and possible consequences, for the local Grange if they continued to ignore proper procedures.
Since then Hunt has been replace by a Rob Horgen, but he too was, and is, in support of the suspension for cause, as outlined in the letter that was sent to all of the Grange members.
The Sesby Press Release follows:
Recent actions by the Washington State Grange threaten to take away our Grange Hall as a community center. A petition to the State Grange has been initiated to ensure that the State Grange will act only in the best interests of the San Juan Island Grange and the local community, and specifically that rental fees will not be raised without a vote of the entire local membership and that the Grange Hall and other Grange assets will not be sold.
Our historic Grange Hall in Friday Harbor is a valuable community center for meetings, hearings, celebrations, potlucks, dances, wedding receptions, memorial services, and our annual community Thanksgiving dinner. Since the Grange Hall was purchased by the local Grange membership in 1975 (with the condition of the deed to “follow the policy of making the building on the premises available for community uses”) the San Juan Island Grange Hall has been available to all islanders and community functions for a reasonable rental fee.
Recent actions by the Washington State Grange threaten the affordability and the very existence of the Grange Hall as a community center:
• The SJI Grange #966 had its charter suspended in August based on unsubstantiated “past actions of the San Juan Island Grange and its’ Officers and members” in spite of the fact that the SJI Grange had just been recognized by both the National Grange and the Washington State Grange as having the most rapid growth in membership.
• The SJI Grange is one of four WA State Granges that have had their charters suspended since August
• The State Grange has not responded to the local members’ many requests for an explanation of the suspension nor taken any steps to allow our Grange to continue to function in good standing.
• The State Grange is rejecting new applications for membership to the SJI Grange.
• One of the suspended Granges, the Graham Grange (in Pierce County) has just had its charter revoked and all its assets seized by the WA State Grange
The petition (copy attached) can be signed at Griffin Bay Bookstore and other locations to be determined.
For more information contact Jim Sesby – firstname.lastname@example.org
( Disclaimer & notice: The Editor of The Island Guardian is a member of the Grange)